PREVIEW CAPSULE: Central Mountain vs. Bethel Park
CENTRAL MOUNTAIN road to semifinals: In District 6-8-9-10 subregional, defeated DuBois, 9-0, and Hollidaysburg, 10-0. In states, defeated Peters Township, 12-0, and West Allegheny, 3-2.
Central Mountain runs per game–8.3, Central Mountain runs allowed–3.0
CENTRAL MOUNTAIN facts: The Wildcats are making their second state semifinal appearance and are in the Final 4 for the first time since 2008. Central Mountain it seeking its first state championship appearance and has won 17 of 19 games since starting the season 1-3. West Virginia-bound pitcher Aidan Major has won four playoff games and allowed four hits in those starts. He threw 6 2/3 no-hit innings against West Allgheny and Chase Brush earned the save, entering in the seventh inning and striking out the only batter he faced. Major and Brush combined on a no-hiter against Peters Township. Kaden Falls hit a three-run double against West Allegheny as Central Mountain erased a one-run deficit. Falls has a team-high 28 RBIs, including seven in states. Both Major and Maine-bound catcher Cy Probst have 26. Central Mountain hit four home runs in the third inning of its Peters Township victory with Probst slamming two. Shortstop Peyton Johnson is hitting .370 with a .460 on-base percentage and has scored 31 times. Sophomore Gabe Johnson has enjoyed a breakout year, hitting .395. Brush and Cru Stover are having strong sophomore seasons, combining for 59 strikeouts in 39 1/3 innings. They also have allowed just 16 hits. Central Mountain has won five consecutive games, outscoring the first four 41-0.
Bethel Park road to states: In WPIAL (District 7), defeated Chartiers Valley 9-0; Shaler, 3-2; West Allegheny, 1-0; lost to Franklin, 2-1. In states, beat Northern York, 5-1, and Southern Lehigh, 7-2.
Bethel Park runs per game–6.4, Bethel Park runs allowed–2.3
Bethel Park facts: The Black Hawks are pursuing their first state championship since 1988 and have come roaring back after losing to Franklin in the WPIAL final. Bethel Park features a strong pitching staff anchored by senior lefty Eric Chalus and sophomore Evan Holewinski. Chalus, a Kent State recruit, went 6-0 during the regular season with a 0.92 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 38 innings. Chalus threw a two-hitter with 11 strikeouts against West Allegheny and scattered five hits in six innings last Thursday against Southern Lehigh while striking out six. Holewisnki was 5-0 during the regular season and did not allow an earned run. The right-hander also struck out 30 in 27 innings and threw a four-hitter last Monday against Northern York. Bethel Park had 10 hits in that victory and nine against Southern Lehigh. Bethel Park is hitting a collective .309 with shortstop David Kessler batting a team-best .474. Chalus hit .404 and Cory Geddes .340 with a team-high 22 RBIs. Geddes had three hits against Southern Lehigh and Ben Hudson is batting .375. Jason Nuttridge added two hits last Thursday. Geddes closed out that victory and has three saves. Bethel Park has won 15 of its last 17 games.
Winner plays: District 3 champion Red Land or District 3 fifth-place finisher Manheim Central.
–By CHRIS MASSE